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Judge: Elon Musk To Face Trial In Defamation Lawsuit

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Judge: Elon Musk To Face Trial In Defamation Lawsuit

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk will go to trial in December in a defamation lawsuit filed by U.K. cave rescue diver Vernon Unsworth, who Musk called a "pedo guy" in a tweet. 

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled Monday that a jury will decide whether Musk's tweets and emails about Unsworth were recklessly negligent, Bloomberg reported

What Happened

The billionaire tech entrepreneur was sued by Vernon Unsworth after Musk directed a series of disparaging tweets at him.

The dispute began when Unsworth dismissed Musk’s attempt at rescuing children stuck in a cave in Thailand by sending submarines as a “PR stunt.”

In an interview with CNN, Unsworth said that Musk could “stick his submarines where it hurts.”

Musk responded with a series of tweets criticizing Unsworth and others, later calling him a “pedo guy.” 

The Space X founder further called Unsworth a “child rapist” in an email to a BuzzFeed journalist, saying he was hoping Unsworth would sue him.

What’s Next

Musk isn’t entitled to a free speech defense, as his accusations were not relevant to any public controversy involving Unsworth, Wilson said. This means that Unsworth dos not have to prove that Musk acted with actual malice to win the case. 

"We look forward to the trial,” Alex Spiro, one of Musk’s lawyers, said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

“We understand that, while Musk has apologized, Unsworth would like to milk his 15 minutes of fame.”

Tesla shares were trading down 0.67% at $325.50 in Tuesday's premarket session. 

Related Links:

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Photo by The Royal Society via Wikimedia

Posted-In: Andrew Left Bloomberg cnnNews Short Sellers Legal Management Media Best of Benzinga

 

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